PHNOM PENH, BEFORE AND AFTER

  • Year:
    2008 – 2015
  • Country:
    Cambodia
  • Photos:
    Nicolas Axelrod – Thomas Cristofoletti

At the end of May, Nicolas Axelrod and Denise Hruby will be launching ‘Transitioning Cambodia’ – their book about the changing landscape of Cambodia.

With this in mind, Thomas Cristofoletti and Nicolas searched through their archives and went out to reproduce photographs they had taken several years ago. Showing how the skyline and the city itself has changed over the last seven years.

‘CAMBODIA is a country in the midst of rapid change. For 17 years, it has enjoyed the longest spell of peace and normality in its short life as an independent nation-state, and its economy continues to boom. The resulting changes have been unprecedented: age-old agricultural cycles are fracturing as the frontiers of development advance. The capital Phnom Penh, a city of phantoms under the Pol Pot regime, is an urban body in perpetual motion, moving its lines of concrete and steel ever-upwards.’

Extract from the forward to ‘Transitioning Cambodia’ by Sebastian Strangio

 

‘Transitioning Cambodia’ is the first photo book showcasing Cambodia’s rapidly transitioning society and landscape, with images byNicolas Axelrod, text by Denise Hruby and a foreward by Sebastian Strangio.

The book will be launched on the 28th of May at MetaHouse in Phnom Penh. 

Disclaimer: the images on this page will not be featured in the book.

– Use the mouse over the sliders to see the before and after –

Boeung Kak

August 27, 2008 – The lake is starting to get filled with sand from the south-eastern corner. The filling of the lake and subsequent eviction affected some 4000 families who were relocated. March 18, 2015 – The lake is now completely filled with sand, two roads have been built crossing the expanse of sand. In the centre artificial football fields are being constructed. None of the initial development plans have been undertaken.

Dey Krahorm

Jan 24, 2009 – The day the community of Dey Krahorm was violently evicted from their homes. Trucks are clearing up the rubble as people are still packing what is left of their belongings. April 26, 2015 – Years later the expanse of the land is still mostly vacant. On one side of the land new restaurants have been built and the grey building to the left is mostly uninhabited.

Phnom Penh

January 30, 2008 – On the corner of a community once called G78 (not pictured), people lived under tarps. The area is behind the National Assembly. April 26, 2015 – New buildings are springing up on the land that was once G78 (left). Restaurants and road side stalls now replace the community of sugarcane vendors that once lived there.

Koh Pich

July 22, 2011 – A statue of a rabbit hugging a bag of money. The first thing that was built on the island was a park decorated with various statues. In the background the first structures of a building later named ‘City Hall’ can be seen. April 26, 2015 – Years later the rabbit is still clutching his sack of money, and the ‘City Hall’ building is complete.

Koh Pich

October 17, 2013 –The construction of “La Seine” is undergoing. April 26, 2015 –The building is finally completed and the first shops and businesses are open to the public.

Koh Pich

November 29, 2012 – A promotional event is organised by  mobile phone operator Smart in a parking lot built behind ‘Koh Pich City Hall’. April 26, 2015 – Three years later, the parking lot has been replaced by a showroom for luxury condos, built by a Chinese construction company.

Olympic Stadium

July 23, 2013 The work on the foundations of the future “Olympia City” begins. April 23, 2015 After 2 years, “Olympia City” is still under construction (the overall completion of the project is scheduled for 2017), but the new buildings already dominate the view of the Phnom Penh skyline.

Olympic Stadium

October 28, 2009 The top of Olympic Stadium (which never hosted official Olympic Games) once offered a view over the city’s rooftops. April 23, 2015 Dwarfed by large construction sites and new buildings the Olympic stadium remains an emblem of Cambodia’s past.

Olympic Stadium

October 28, 2009 Looking out towards the capital, Canadia Tower stands tall above the city. April 23, 2015 Canadia tower is no longer the tallest building in the city, as Vattanac tower stands several floors above it, with the stadium slowly being surrounded by new tall buildings.

Borei Keila

September 04, 2010 The community of Boreik Keila is seen from one of the new buildings that was built to relocate the community. Many of the people living in the community did not receive the promised on-site relocation as the redevelopment was tarnished by corruption and nepotism. April 23, 2015 Years after the violent eviction that saw the land emptied in early January 2012, a few new buildings are being built in the centre of the land.

Borei Keila

April 21, 2012 Several months after the eviction of Borei Keila, one of the buildings that was once inhabited by athletes and their families is still sparsely occupied. April 23, 2015 Years later the building still stands, with a new shed built in the foreground and new constructions reaching over the top of the building.

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